MG faces BYD in the electricity market: “We’re fishing in the same river”

Four years later, MG, which was bought by the Chinese group SAIC in 2006, is today a manufacturer that has established itself. That’s about 123,000 sales last year in Europe and around 100,000 sales in the UK.

In Belgium, “in 2023 we recorded quite exceptional numbers”Jan Vanhaver, Country Manager, highlights the 405% increase in sales to 4,990 units, mainly thanks to interest from individuals, who represent 32.5% of buyers in a market largely dominated by fleet contracts.

Cars: electric, the most interesting fuel, especially for heavy drivers?

It is not a coincidence. First of all, it was a bonus of 5,500 euros granted for the purchase of an electric car. “The proposal was apt.” This enabled 2,000 sales of all electric models combined. At its peak was the success of the MG4 model. “This model has been adopted by corporate fleets. We have almost no competitors in this segment and certainly not at this price”, from 32,285 euros. For their art, individuals preferred to turn to the ZS Ice model, thermal, much more affordable (from 22,785 euros) than the electric version, ZS EV, from 35,885 euros.


However, the electric vehicle market has been in decline for several months. The novelty, the MG3, therefore comes at the right time: it is a hybrid car from the B segment, i.e. city cars. It can appeal to both individuals – it is self-charging, which they prefer – and companies – the hybrid is interesting from a tax point of view.

He peers into the segment where we find Citroën C3, Renault Clio and Dacia Sandero. The end of the marketing of Ford Fiesta and Kia Rio should make his task easier. The MG3 boasts twice the battery capacity of the Toyota Yaris, is the largest in its segment and is taller. It’s even a more powerful engine that allows it to achieve great acceleration. The volume of the trunk – about 300 liters – corresponds to the volume of the Yaris, but is lower than that of the thermo models. You have to put the battery somewhere.

MG Belgium expects to sell around 1,200 units of its new model, the hybrid MG3 (petrol engine + battery).

With a starting price of €20,985 for the base model, however, the MG3 is barely €2,200 cheaper than the electric Citroën ë-C3, which is on pre-sale. MG oversees it. An electric car, smaller than the MG3, is already in the works. “Today, the market is not there yet. It’s up to Citroën to prove us wrong.” notes the Country Manager. If the market follows, MG will follow without delay. “If the potential is there, it will happen very quickly with MG. Within 6 months.

The manufacturer has high hopes for the MG3. Jan Vanhaver expects around 70% of sales to individuals looking for “small, cheap car” to a total of 1,200 cars (within six months) in 2024 and 2,400 next year.

Cyberster centennial

Enough to help MG reach its original sales target of 10,000 cars for 2024.”It will be a challenge“, he admits. In the first 4 months of the year, 1,069 units were sold, a year-on-year decrease of 8.24%, according to the latest statistics from Febiac, the Belgian Automobile Federation. “ There is very strong competition in the MG4 segment right now. Several brands have lowered their prices to be in our price range.” So it’s a lot harder than last year.

Meanwhile, Chinese rival BYD, which arrived in Belgium at the end of 2022, saw an increase of 261.88% to 579 vehicles. BYD, which sells only electrics, is logically a stone in MG’s shoes. “We fish in the same river. A BYD customer is potentially an MG customer, that’s for sure. They do good marketing, you have to admit that.”

China’s BYD Attacks US Electric Market: ‘Significant Potential’

MG executives also like to point out that the leading Chinese manufacturer is really SAIC and not BYD, whose crossover with Tesla in the leading position in electric car sales gives it, admittedly, quite a reputation.

However, sales will also support the development of the network, which should reach 24 dealerships by the end of the year and accommodate an ever-increasing assortment. There are currently seven models, with two more to follow by the end of 2024, including the famous Cyberster, which will revive the iconic English roadster in this centenary year. As times have changed, it will be 100% electric, with no compromises on its performance.

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